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Friday, August 23, 2013

UA adds to statement about fired spokesman John Diamond

Posted By on Fri, Aug 23, 2013 at 8:16 PM

click to enlarge CHRIS WYRICK: Not ready to say why he fired top UA spokesman.
  • CHRIS WYRICK: Not ready to say why he fired top UA spokesman.
It took a few hours, but the University of Arkansas has finally responded to my questions concerning its terse announcement firing John Diamond as the lead university spokesman. He was an award-wnning PR chief who ow says he fell out of favor for disagreeing with university higher-ups on "accountability and transparency."

Diamond's new boss Chris Wyrick, who fired him in a text message this morning, has refused to take phone calls but this came in a university news release:

University of Arkansas Vice Chancellor for Advancement Chris Wyrick released the following statement this afternoon:

“Mr. John Diamond was terminated from employment with the University of Arkansas today, with 30 days notice.

“The reasons for his termination are contained in correspondence Mr. Diamond received from me today.

“The university informed Mr. Diamond that it believes the correspondence is subject to release under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. In response Mr. Diamond declined to allow release of the documents and wishes to seek an opinion from the Arkansas Attorney General.

“Accordingly, the University of Arkansas cannot release the document until an Attorney General’s opinion is rendered or until Mr. Diamond gives his permission to release the documents.”

Events will prove that Wyrick has been disingenuous. Instant release of Diamond's firing letter, as would have happened had he not filed an objection with the attorney general, would have come without an opportunity for him to respond. He will have one now. Should be interesting.

I also got some answers to other questions from another university employee:

1) Was John Diamond fired?

Mr. Diamond was terminated with 30 days notice.

2) If he was fired, then I request under FOI the records that
illustrate the basis for that decision.

Vice Chancellor Chris Wyrick will be addressing this tonight in a statement.

3) What is his current salary?

$173,354. This will remain unchanged for the duration of his employment.

4) Was he a contract or at-will employee?

At-will employee. Mr. Diamond is a non-classified employee subject to the
policies of the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) and the Board of

5) If contract, are there terms on settlement of that contract or
other severance provisions.

Not applicable.

6) Will he work any longer at UA before end of his employment.

Yes. Mr. Diamond's final day will be Sept. 22.

7) Diamond said in an e-mail to me:

I believe it's the result of strong philosophical and material
differences over what it means to be a transparent and publicly
accountable university.

The suggestion is that the university desires to be less transparent
and accountable than Diamond favors. Does Chris Wyrick have a comment?

Again, Vice Chancellor Chris Wyrick will address this in a statement

Mr. Diamond will retain his current title and will report to Mr. Wyrick.

His new duties are yet to be determined and will be discussed with him Monday.

Mr. Diamond will be working from his residence. 

Diamond is at least the third employee in Wyrick's division to depart since Wyrick arrived in the wake of the Brad Choate scandal.

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